1. What are the accommodations like?
The safari lodges are more basic that you will find in other parts of Africa, but all will be clean, comfortable, and ideally located to enjoy your safari experience. For more information, check out our Rwanda and Uganda lodging pages or click on the bed icons next to each day of the tour itinerary to view pictures of our standard hotels/ lodges.
2. Do I need a converter/ adapter for the electricity?
Uganda uses 240 volts electricity and requires a 3-pin (square) sockets. Rwanda uses 230/240 volts at 50 Hz and a 2-pin (round) socket is required. Travelers will need a voltage converter for 110 volt devices. It is best to travel with your own adapters. Even if they do not have power, most camps or lodges, can make arrangements for recharging batteries. Consult your guide if needed.
3. Are meals included?
Yes, all meals are included in your safari while you are at one of our Safari lodges. Meals while staying at hotels in major cities (Kampla or Kigali) are limited to breakfast only. If you have any dietary preference or concerns, please let your trip planner know and the time of booking.
4. What are the tour leaders like?
Your local guides are nature enthusiasts who love to share their world with travelers. Most speak several languages, and have been guiding for a combined total of over 100 years.
5. What type of food is typical in Rwanda/Uganda?
The food may not be sophisticated but benefits from the inclusion of fresh fruit and vegetables. You will find a largely vegetarian diet, although meat is available. The cuisine is largely based around beans, potatoes, sweet potatoes, bananas, and rice.
6. What type of transportation is used?
You will be transferred in comfortable 4x4 jeeps.
7. What is the climate like?
Due to the high altitude and proximity to the equator, you can expect to find a remarkably pleasant tropical highland climate in Rwanda and Uganda. Rainy season runs March to May, during which the rain is fairly constant. June to mid-September is generally noted as the best time to travel. October and November will also be rainy, and there is a short dry season December to February. Even in the dry seasons travelers should expect light rain shower.
8. What is the typical age range for these tours?
Our Africa tours tend to attract all ages. The more adventurous trekking tours tend to attract a slightly younger group (mostly 20s-40s), but we've also had active 70 year olds do great on these treks so don't let age discourage you if you are fit and healthy. Expect a wide range of ages and ask your trip planner if you are curious about the demographics for a particular departure.
9. Are these trips suitable for kids?
No. Although there are many great destinations in Africa for children, the nature of Gorilla Tracking, and the government restrictions, mandate the participants be at least 15 years of age at the time of travel.
10. Are these trips a good choice for solo travelers?
Yes. A solo traveler is welcome to join any set departure date for the safaris. The nature of the programs creates an environment where travelers are coming and going from lodges, but there is always a group activity to participate in.
11. Do the rates include international flights?
Tour rates do not include international flights. We find that it is usually less expensive for travelers to book these separately and this also allows you the flexibility to choose the schedule and routing that is most convenient for you. You can purchase international flights on your own, or we can certainly help you arrange these flights with an airfare consolidator who specializes in international flights to Africa.
12. How do I get to the hotel from the airport when I arrive?
You will be met by a Safari representative once you clear customs and the baggage claim. They will transfer you to the first loge.
13. How much should I budget for tips?
Local culture believes the level of tips should be at the discretion of the client and any token of appreciation is gladly received. These are our suggestions:
About 3-5% in restaurants; at lodges/camps US$ $3-5 per guest for a stay of 1-3 days; for driver/guides US$ $5 - 10 per day per client; for the Head Ranger when gorilla tracking $10 per day per client; porters at parks - $20-25 per day per person; Hotel/lodge baggage porters - $1 to $2 per client per stay. Forest walks - $5 per client.
14. How far in advance should I book?
You can book your Rwanda/Uganda tour at any time and generally the earlier you book, the better. Booking early (10-12 months or more recommended) is especially important for travelers visiting during the height of the dry season, Dec-Feb or June-Sept, as many of these departures fill up months in advance. Travelers visiting outside of these busy months can often book a bit more last minute, though a 4-6 month notice is still recommended.
Further, we usually recommend that you wait to book your international flights until after your tour is confirmed. The sooner that we arrange your tour, the sooner that you can take advantage of flight deals as they become available.
Gorilla Tracking and Permits
Only a limited number of permits are available in each gorilla park per day. It is therefore essential to book well in advance. Permits need to be paid for at the time of the initial safari booking so that they can be purchased immediately. Delay in payment can result in permits not being secured.
To protect gorillas from disease, no children under 15 or people with illnesses may go tracking. Trackers must be fit and in good health as tracking in thick forest at heights up to 3,000m traversing steep-sided mountains and ravines can be tough, arduous and wet. Permits are non-refundable. Gorilla viewing can be denied at short notice because of national park or border closures, security changes or gorillas going out of range. In such circumstances refunds are at the discretion of the authority and are not within the company's control. Obtaining a gorilla permit therefore is not a guarantee of seeing a gorilla. One hour is allowed with the gorillas, at a distance of at least 7 meters. Flash photography is not allowed. Personal DVD recorders are allowed.
15. Are tour dates flexible?
Please contact us if you are not able to travel on the set departure dates listed on-line. Most tours can be arranged on alternative departure dates for a minimum of two travelers as long as lodges/ hotels are available.
16. Can I extend or change my stay?
Check out our Africa Extensions
for ideas. Let us know how you would like to customize your trip and we will do our best to accommodate you.
17. What should I pack?
You will receive a detailed packing list specific to your tour after you book. A water/windproof jacket, fleece, and sun protection are recommended for all Rwanda/Uganda tours. Fast-drying clothes that can be layered work best for these areas.
On Safari, luggage should be limited to two items of baggage per person.
18. How concerned should I be about the altitude?
Altitude affects each traveler differently and until you have visited an area with high altitude, it is impossible to predict how your body will react.
Commonly, our travelers report mild altitude symptoms such as fatigue, headache, or light-headedness during their first day or two at elevation.
Severe altitude sickness is rare. In this case, the best treatment is to go down in elevation as soon as possible. We have never had a traveler that had to be evacuated to low altitude. Many severe cases of altitude sickness are the result of a pre-existing condition that is aggravated by the altitude. It is important to ask your doctor whether or not travel to high altitude is advised, especially if you have a pre-existing heart or lung condition such as high blood pressure, asthma, angina, etc. You might also want to ask your doctor about prescription Diamox, a diuretic that many travelers swear by to help them adjust to the altitude more readily.
19. How safe are Rwanda/Uganda?
Petty crime is common in the larger cities of Kigali and Kampala. By staying with your guides you will avoid most issues. Don't wear expensive accessories or watches, and don't carry large sums of cash. Take particular care with your passport. Travelers should take the same precautions that they would in a major city in the US. Pay attention to the advice of your tour leader and hotel reception and take common-sense precautions such as not going into unfamiliar areas alone, especially at night.
Guides will monitor your safety in cities and in the game areas. From time to time generalized travel statements are issued concerning travel conditions in the area. For current Department of State announcements and Consular information see travel.state.gov
20. What time zone are Uganda/Rwanda?
Rwanda is on Central African Time, GMT +02:00. Uganda is on East Africa Time Zone, GMT +03:00. Neither Rwanda nor Uganda recognize Daylight savings time.
21. Is the water safe to drink?
Tap water is generally unsafe in East Africa and it's recommended that you drink only bottled water which is widely available. Bottled water will be provided in the safari vehicles for all of our game drives and in the bathrooms at the lodges for brushing your teeth. While Gorilla Tracking, you will be required to carry your own water supply.
22. Can I use US dollars, or do I need local currency? What is the local currency, exchange rate, etc.?
Uganda and Rwanda are relatively expensive destinations compared to other places in Africa. Budgeting $30-$50 dollars per day per person is reasonable. The local currency in Uganda is the Ugandan Shilling (UGX) and is currently around 2400: US$1. In Rwanda the local currency is the Rwandan Franc (RWF) currently around 600: US$1. It is advisable to exchange a small amount of money into local currency for use at road side shops. Please be aware that high denomination US Dollar bills (only post-2000) are usable. Bills should be in excellent condition with no stains or tears. Check out a Currency Converter like, www.oanda.com/currency/converter/
for the latest exchange rates.
23. Should I bring cash or Traveler's checks? Are ATMs available? Can I use credit cards?
ATMs are readily available in the larger towns and cities, but hard, if not impossible to find elsewhere. Traveler's checks are not recommend as they are hard to exchange, and fewer retailers are accepting them. Although it is helpful to bring a credit card along for emergencies, don't count on using it for most purchases.
24. Can I use my cell phone?
Check with your cell phone provider. Each company is different and they can give you the most up-to-date information.
25. What immunizations are recommended/ required?
The yellow fever vaccine is currently required for travelers visiting Uganda or Rwanda due to yellow fever in neighboring countries. You should also be up to date on our routine vaccinations, including Tetanus. The CDC is currently recommending the following vaccinations: Hepatitis A and Typhoid. Malaria Travelers must bring along their International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis (ICVP) as proof of vaccination. You may also want to consider the following vaccinations: Hepatitis B, Meningitis (if traveling between Dec-June), and Rabies.
Please note that some countries, such as South Africa, require a yellow fever vaccination if traveling directly from Uganda/Rwanda. Please check with the Center for Disease Control for information for your onward travel from Uganda/Rwanda.
For the most current information, please consult your doctor and/or check out the Center for Disease Control web-site
26. Do I need a visa/passport?
Uganda: Travelers will all need a passport valid for at least 6 months after they depart, and have at least 2 consecutive black pages. Currently, Uganda does require a tourist visa for travelers from the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, however, visas can be obtained upon arrival, and the fee is currently US$50 for single entry and US$100 for multi-entry. Travelers from other nationalities should check with the Ugandan Embassy for visa information.
Rwanda: Travelers will all need a passport valid for at least 6 months after they depart. Currently, Rwanda does require a tourist visa for citizens of the US, Canada. Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Israel, South Africa, Sweden and the UK. This visa can be purchased prior to travel and costs $50USD per person. Travelers from other nationalities should check with the Rwandan Embassy for visa information.
Entry requirements change with surprising frequency. It is each traveler's responsibility to check with the consulate for the most up-to-date visa information.
27. Is travel insurance recommended?
It is a condition of booking that all clients must have, and must demonstrate to Adventure Life prior to their departure, adequate insurance for the duration of the tour. Such insurance should fully cover personal injury; medical expenses; repatriation in the event of accident, illness or death; cancellation or curtailment of the tour by the company or client; and loss of, damage to, or theft of the clients' personal property. Activities with a greater inherent risk, such as mountaineering, animal tracking on foot and white-water rafting should be covered. Theft, personal injury or any disruption to arrangements should be reported immediately to the company and to the nearest police station.
We work with a travel insurance company that provides reasonably priced insurance for trip cancellation, medical expenses, medical evacuation, lost bags, etc. Check out more details at www.adventure-life.com/insurance